Rowan’s Emergency Medical Services and the Glassboro Fire Department responded to a reported fire at Holly Pointe Commons on Wednesday, Sept. 9, and transported one person for injuries due to the incident, according to Vernon Howery, the chief of Rowan University EMS.
According to Michael Kantner, the assistant vice president of public safety and office of emergency management, the fire occurred early in the morning around 1-2 a.m.
Vice President for University Relations Joe Cardona said the fire source was a hoverboard (self-balancing scooter). The Glassboro Fire Marshal’s Office is currently investigating the situation, as they do for every alarm; however, they wouldn’t comment on the definitive reason for the hoverboard’s fire.
“[The hoverboard] is the crux of their investigation. They are looking at all avenues, and there haven’t been any determinations yet,” Kantner said.
Hoverboards are no stranger to fire departments around the United States. Since 2015, there have been many incidents involving their combustion. They are prohibited on school property by Rowan’s Housing Policy regarding engines. The United States International Trade Commission also prohibits them.
According to the Federal Register, in 2016 the International Trade Commission issued a ban on various hoverboard manufacturers due to patent claims made by Segway Inc. Many of the manufacturers listed are internationally based in countries that lack strict regulations on their products’ safety.
Purdue University’s school newspaper, The Exponent, documented a similar hoverboard fire on Sept. 14, 2020 inside one of their dorms Shreve Hall. Both Rowan and Purdue’s incidents occurred early in the morning.
The sprinkler system in Holly Pointe caused water damage to the surrounding areas in the first floor B-pod.
“Thank goodness for the sprinkler system, that fire was basically knocked down by the time the fire department showed up,” Kantner said. “They did sustain some water damage in the hallway of B-pod and in rooms adjacent to the incident location.”
Currently there are no reports on the number of students and dorms affected by water damage. Rowan EMS reported only one individual requiring medical attention due to the fire, and their condition is unknown.
An update will be available at thewhitonline.com when and if appropriate.